As we recover from the unprecedented attack on our Capitol, our democracy, and our fellow brothers and sisters in arms who valiantly defended their stations, we must now also stand ready for any other attacks of domestic terrorism that may occur in the days leading up to the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on January 20.
Last week’s violent riot, vandalism and looting of the literal heart of the American democratic process by thousands of people inflamed and encouraged by President Donald Trump was shocking – but not surprising. It was just the latest, most despicable example yet of how this president has sought to divide this country and destroy tradition. The peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy.
As has been pointed out by countless Americans, including President-elect Biden and Mayor Jim Kenney, the way that these violent insurrectionists were treated with kid gloves compared to the aggressive tactics used by law enforcement against those protesting racial injustice last year is the clearest indicator yet of how institutional racism impacts our citizenry, and how the need for reform is real and immediate. Even as this office continues to prepare to answer the call to protect the City of Philadelphia in the event of unrest leading up to and beyond the inauguration on January 20, we are also committed to implementing reforms to better address the racial equality gap.
Please know we in the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office are doing our very best to ensure workplace safety and keep the lines of communication open to address any concerns quickly and effectively, regardless of day, time or topic.
To my fellow public servants, I say to hold fast and hold strong. This is the job, this is the career, this is the path we chose to walk on. We have made a choice to serve the City of Philadelphia and all who reside within its limits. I thank you for your commitment to the people’s work, and I look forward to standing by your side for many years to come.
To all Philadelphians reading this: As President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…” This is our city, our country, our democracy – all the greatest in the world. We won’t let the actions of a desperate, deluded mob manipulated by seditionist politicians and media personalities keep us from protecting what our forefathers worked so hard to build.
Putting in the work to make Philadelphia a better place free of hate and racism starts with all of us. If you witness or experience racist or other discriminatory behavior in the workplace, please contact the Employee Relations office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (215) 683-8447. And if you need resources to help cope in these fraught times, please visit Healthy Minds Philly to learn about free mental health resources available or take a free, anonymous, online screening.
We are blessed to live in the city known as The Cradle of Liberty. Those aren’t just words; they are, as they have ever been, our charge: To protect, nurture and help our freedom grow and reach its potential. Standing together, we will do just that.
Sheriff Rochelle Bilal
Office of the Sheriff in the City and County of Philadelphia